Thursday, 23 March 2023

Saturday 25th March 2023 - A Racing Weekend Without Borders

The Go North weekend is the big deal for the jumps this week. Musselburgh (Friday), Kelso (Saturday) and Carlisle (Sunday) host the action. It’s also the Jumps Season Finale meeting at Newbury.

The Flat starts in Ireland this weekend with the Irish Lincolnshire in which we have a bet, along with plenty more international action too.

5.40 (AM) Rosehill (Tancred Stakes – Group 1) – MONTEFELIA

We begin in Australia at 5.40am before moving to Dubai at midday and eventually to the USA later on Saturday night.

Though no match for Dubai Honour in the Ranvet last Saturday, five-year-old mare Montefelia may just prove too good for this field at the weights over the mile and a half.

Much like Dubai Honour, Cleveland has been woefully underestimated by the Australians (if only this were a handicap), while Melbourne Cup winners Gold Trip and Vow And Declare should also go well.

12.05 Meydan (Godolphin Mile – Group 2) – BATHRAT LEON 

Given the number of older horses in this race, there will not be much in the way of progression to attempt to judge.

Isolate, if staying the distance, Prince Eiji, Discovery Island and several others are all solid enough, but perhaps aren’t as taking as French-trained Egot.

Even with him, he needs to get to and beat his career peak though if he is to challenge Japanese runner Bathrat Leon.*

His best performance was last time out just four weeks ago, but he has also proven to be very effective on the dirt at Tokyo so he can achieve peak form in this which should be enough in the race he won last year.

12.40 Meydan (Dubai Gold Cup – Group 2) – SISKANY

A repeat of Quickthorn’s standout win at York would give him a major chance, while former winner Subjectivist is back and is obviously dangerous.

Broom could get back to his best now staying, but I prefer the chances of up-and-coming stayers Trawlerman and Siskany.

Trawlerman won the Ebor last year and ran very well on Champions Day behind Trueshan. Siskany could be at a different level however and warmed up nicely with a simple win Group 3 company here last time out.

1.15 Meydan (Al Quoz Sprint – Group 1) – AL SUHAIL

This is a good six-furlong sprint and a proper international one.

Cazadero (USA) and The Astrologist (Australia) probably need to pick up on what they’ve done in recent times. Ireland’s Ladies Church is capable of more, while Hong Kong pair Slight Success and Duke Wai are the main dangers to the selection, Al Suhail.

The six-year-old’s easy win last time is enough to make him competitive anyway, though he is clearly improving. Charlie Appleby has done very well in recent seasons teaching former mile and seven-furlong horses how to sprint, with this horse perhaps the best of the bunch. Al Dasim is well backed but might just be outgunned.

3.10 Meydan (Dubai Turf – Group 1) – NATIONS PRIDE

Whatever happens in this race, take in the form as this is truly a top-class Group 1 event over nine furlongs.

Real World is very good and spent last year chasing Baaeed around. Do Deuce is a major Japanese hope who needs to step down in trip, while Master Of The Seas should have won last time and can land a mile(ish) Group 1 before the end of the year.

Former winner Lord North is clearly in great form and will run very well again, while Sefiros won a high-class race in Japan last time.

The level of form shown last year on more than one occasion, allied with his continued improvement, shows Nations Pride to be a very, very good horse indeed and he will love this specific trip, though he is drawn wide.

3.25 Curragh (Irish Lincolnshire Handicap) – LATTAM

Ado McGuiness is certainly going for this with ten of the 27 final entries all his. Of that battalion, Celtic Crown and Comfort Line are best fancied from low draws.

The draw would usually put me off if it were too high here, but so many fancied horses are drawn in the 20’s and it is bound to level off more than normal.

The three I liked best were Totally Charming, Miss Mirabell and Lattam who are drawn 22, 25 and 24 respectively with the last-named, trained by William Haggas, seeming to have plenty in hand at the weights.

4.00 Meydan (Sheema Classic – Group 1) – REBEL’S ROMANCE 

Japan’s Equinox is favourite here and top-rated. He is joined by major Arc de Triomphe hope Shahryar, recent Group 1 winner Win Marylin, Derby third and Irish Derby winner Westover, three-time Group 1 and Breeders’ Cup winner Rebel’s Romance and Mostahdaf who routed a good field in Saudi Arabia last time.

This is then, once again, a truly excellent race.

There is no reason to doubt Equinox here really, though his price is very short while Westover is somewhat on the comeback trail and while very smart isn’t likely to ultimately prove to be the best of last year’s three-year-olds.

Both Mostahdaf and Rebel’s Romance have been a little underestimated, with the proven form and speed of the latter over this distance winning out at the odds.

10.42 Fair Grounds (Louisiana Derby – Grade 2) – KINGSBARNS

The highlight of a bumper 15-race card at Fair Grounds in New Orleans is the Louisiana Derby.

Race number 12 on the day, the Louisiana Derby offers 40 points to the winner on the Road to the Kentucky Derby making it a key prep race for the big one on May 6.

The choice is here is Kingsbarns. The excellent Todd Pletcher trains this colt by Uncle Mo, a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner who also sired Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

He didn’t make his racecourse debut until January when he beat his maiden special weight field by just under a length. He strengthened up and improved markedly to win again last month at Tampa Bay and he did it in the style of a tough, classy individual.

The level of form expected of him now could see him improve past likely favourite Instant Coffee, while his morning line odds of 6/1 are also more than a little tempting. Tapit’s Conquest, Cagliostro and Sun Thunder also came into consideration.

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